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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Here’s an advocacy message from Amy O’Leary about the new legislative session.

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Happy New Year! Are you ready to take action? 
We need each and every voice delivering the same, clear message to our elected officials at the local, state, and national level. We need to prioritize young children and families and the early education and care workforce. We must work together to make our voices heard.

Below you will find some key dates and ways to take action RIGHT NOW. Please share this information. Make a plan to get things done by the end of January. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Even if you have done this before, you need to do it again. YOU can do it. Our children are counting on us. We are happy to help. Contact us for more information.

FIRST, make sure you know who represents you in Washington and in the Massachusetts State House. Click here and enter your home address on the form and click the “Show my results” button. Print out these results so that you will have a list of your elected officials. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center offers key advice to states: Focus on making early childhood systems more efficient and effective.

“This issue is important for two reasons,” the report says. “First, support for early childhood programs can only be sustained if the programs are viewed as effective and efficient in their use of public funds.”

Second, inefficiencies can create “real obstacles to access” for the very children that states want to reach.

“When families have to apply to multiple programs, housed across multiple agencies, often with duplicative paperwork requirements and inconsistent eligibility criteria, many simply give up.”

Improving efficiency is demanding work. States have to manage their own early childhood funds, and they receive child care funding from multiple federal sources including Child Care Development Block Grants, Head Start, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Each funding stream has its own rules and requirements. (more…)

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“Too many poor children in rural areas, children in foster care, and children ages birth to 3 don’t have access to high-quality preschools, state leaders and early learning advocates fear. Families often don’t understand their choices. Health care and social services agencies often don’t know how to connect families with preschools. Preschool workers often don’t have enough training.

“ ‘Sometimes we’re not as knowledgeable as we’d like to be about where those gaps exist for those families,’ said Nicole Norvell, director of Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning.

“To identify and address the gaps, Indiana is applying for a nearly $10 million federal Preschool Development Grant. The plan, submitted to the federal government earlier this month, would cost about $14 million, with help from about $4 million in matching state dollars.

“Up to 40 states could receive awards. It’s uncertain when states will hear back about their applications, but it could be as early as the end of December.”

“Indiana seeks $10 million federal grant to find gaps in early childhood education,” by Stephanie Wang, Chalkbeat, November 29, 2018

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

California is trying to lower the number of preschool expulsions by giving these programs a way to fund more access to mental health services. As Education Week reports, this is the result of a new state law that was enacted last month.

Specifically, the law increases the reimbursement rate by 5 percent for each low-income child, age 0 to 5, who receive services. As Education Week explains, “…if a classroom has 20 children and 10 of them are subsidized, the program would be reimbursed at a rate of 10.5 children.”

This law builds on a 2017 California law that makes it harder for preschool programs that receive state funding to expel students.

On the website State of Reform, Sarah Neville-Morgan, the director of the Early Education and Support Division at the California Department of Education, says “Expulsion works against everything that is best practice for children, families and child care programs. This law creates the support system necessary to keep young children in preschool and child care facilities.” (more…)

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How hard is it to get from preschool to kindergarten?

According to Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman, many children find themselves moving from one silo to the next.

“Too often government officials design programs for children as if they lived their lives in silos, as if each stage of a child’s life were independent of the other, unconnected to what came before or what lies ahead.”

A new report — Transitions and Alignment: From Preschool to Kindergarten — released by the Education Commission of the States shares this Heckman quote and looks at how some policymakers and educators are replacing silos with more promising pathways that help children travel safely from infancy to adulthood.

“If this transition does not go well,” the report says, “children can be turned off to learning and school at an early age.”

The report points to two strategies for promoting children’s success: (more…)

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Governor Charlie Baker (directly in front of Curious George) announces new facilities grants at the Crispus Attucks Children’s Center in Dorchester.

 

This summer, Massachusetts awarded $4 million in grants to help early education and after-school programs improve their physical spaces. The money comes from the Early Education and Care and Out of School Time (EEOST) Capital Fund, which was created by the state Legislature.

As we’ve blogged before, engaging classrooms, lively safe playgrounds, and well-designed bathrooms are some of the key features that create nurturing environments for young children.

But programs often can’t afford the costs of badly needed construction and renovations. That’s why these capital improvement funds are so important.

In a statement, Governor Charlie Baker said, “Renovating and repairing facilities helps achieve our goal of improving the quality of early education and care.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Wednesday, Massachusetts’ six-member legislative conference committee released a $41.88 billion state budget for fiscal year 2019 that reconciles the differences between the House’s and Senate’s budget proposals. The Legislature passed the budget, and it now heads to Governor Baker who has 10 days to sign it into law, and can make line item vetoes.

Massachusetts readers, take action: Ask Governor Baker to sign the budget, and continue his support of high-quality early education and care.

The committee invested in high-quality early education. Nine out of 13 line items of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) were in play because the House and Senate had funded them at different levels.

In each instance, the committee chose the higher funding level: $20 million for the early educator salary rate reserve, $10 million for a new early educator workforce development initiative, $5 million for preschool expansion, $1 million for Reach Out and Read, and more. Visit our website for details.

We thank the members of the Conference Committee:

House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez (D-Boston)
Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington)
Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren)
Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka (D-Ashland)
Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem), and
Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth)

MassLive.com covers the budget here.

A Boston Globe budget story is posted here.

To advocate, send a message to Governor Baker today.

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